has been accused on several occasions of being a monopoly and abusing
its dominant position in the online search and advertising markets.
So far, the company has escaped major investigations into its
practices, but that may soon change.Google announced in
mid-May that it had discovered after a German regulatory authority
asked for an audit of its data collection practices that it
captured Wi-Fi payload data. Google admits its Street View fleet
captures SSID and MAC address data from protected Wi-Fi networks.
Google still maintains that it captured the data accidentally and has
not used the data in any Google products.Later in May, a suit
was filed against Google for capturing data from unprotected
Wi-Fi networks in a Portland, Oregon court. Reuters reported
that here have now been suits filed in courts in Washington D.C.,
California, and Massachusetts as well. On top of the suits pending
against Google, the FTC has started an informal inquiry into the
issue and today, Canada has announced that it is looking into the
issue with an official
investigation.Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer
Stoddart said that she was concerned about the implications for
privacy and that the only way to answer the lingering questions was
to launch an investigation.Stoddart said, "We have a
number of questions about how this collection could have happened.
We've determined that an investigation is the best way to find the
answers."Google still plans to cooperate fully with
authorities in all countries where the WiFi data was captured. The
suit filed in Oregon has lead to the court presiding over the case
asking Google to make two copies of the data captured in the U.S. and
turn them over to the court.